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Fish Report: Panfish still going as season winds down for game fish

The ice fishing season for game fish such as walleye, sauger, northern pike and bass ends after this Sunday, but anglers can still follow a strong panfish bite that is going on in some lakes in the area.

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The season for those game fish runs through February 23 and anglers have to have their houses off the lakes each night starting on March 3.

“There’s not been anything really going on with the walleyes in the area for a long time,” Dana Freese of Christopherson Bait in Alexandria said. “That’s just kind of been over. They are catching some crappies, and the L’Homme Dieu Chain of Lakes has been putting them out fairly consistently.”

Freese said most anglers are finding crappies in the mid-20 foot range depths. The best way to consistently catch them is to be willing to move in order to stay on top of them.

“You can plunk down your house in one of those holes and you might catch them,” Freese said. “But your odds are better if you’re willing to move and stay with the fish. Right now they’re out in those basins and they just kind of roam around.”

Anglers are going after the panfish with small jigs tipped with wax worms or other artificial tails.

“Something that has been gaining a lot of popularity and really picks up as the season goes on are these little plastic tails,” Freese said. “You can get more action out of them than you can with live bait, and they make them to look like all kinds of little bugs and minnows. A lot of people are catching crappies and bluegills on these things.”